Little Theo was born to our matriarch female, Roxie, on a sunny but cold January 3 of 2008. He was a healthy beautiful true black male cria. He did all the things crias do, nurse, run, nibble and generally create turmoil within the herd by harassing any alpaca who would tolerate him!
When he was almost a month old, Theo appeared to be not feeling very well. He was slightly lethargic and had a bit of what appeared to be a runny nose. He was still hard to catch and put his jacket on and off, but he was slower than usual. So to be on the safe side we started him on Penone for 5 days and added some Ecol C to try and give his immune system a bit of a boost. He was a busy nurser and always had a full belly. We just figured it was the cold weather and he had a cold.
On February 3, early in the morning, we found him laying almost dead up by the barn with his mother standing guard over him! We brought him into the kitchen (Roxie also!!) and we got out the heating pad, the blow dryer, towels and warm goats milk. We took his temperature and it wouldn't even register on the thermometer! We gave him thiamine to perk up any appetite he may have. It took four hours but we got his body temperature up to about 97 and he was actively nursing from his mom with his little tale flipped up, happy!
The next morning (February 4), his temperature was still very low, 92.2 so we took him into the vet. He only weighed 20 pounds! She started us on a regime of fluids sub-Q, thiamine to keep his appatite up and probiotics. He got 15cc sub-Q in the office and perked right up. Apparently hypothermia victims can have liver damage. The good news is that the liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself if you can support the body while it is regenerating! So we drew blood blood to see if any of the enzymes were elevated, the results would take 2 days to get back....
Home we went, Roxie was Happy happy to see her baby. They looked funny in the kitchen. We put up plywood to keep them confined to the kitchen, and hay and a water bucket for mama, and towels everywhere to help soak up the urine!
On February 5, we brought in the scale to closely monitor Theo's weight. He weighed 20 pounds. His temperature was 93.5. He was getting thiamine and probios daily. He was getting 40 cc of Sub-Q fluid daily.
That night Theo started acting funny. Like he would get sleepy and his head would loll back, and his eyes would be partway open. This occurrence was becoming very regular... about 10:30 that night it dawned on me that I was watching him have small seizures. I got out a stethoscope and listened during the next one at 11:00. His heart would actually stop during the seizure, and when he would take that last death gasp it was restarting his little heart and he would "wake up". I have to admit this really freaked us out to know we were watching him "die" every half hour!
We sat up with Theo all night that night. At 7:00 in the morning, on February 6, he was still hanging in there between seizures and so we headed straight into the vets office again. We walked in and said to the vet, "watch, in 7 minutes he will be dead!" so she went and got her stethoscope and listened. Her face was stunned!
We fitted Theo with a hep lock and started him on a regimen of IV's involving dex and lac. We alternated the types of IV and keep his body fluids up which helped keep the seizures further apart and much more mild. The blood draw results were back from the other day. Theo's liver enzyme count was up in the thousands!! No wonder he was having seizures. It was the weekend and the vet was going to be out of town. We decided to take him home and give it a try on the IV's and keeping him on thiamine for appetite. His body temp was sitting at 95.... still very low but at least he was registering on the thermometer!
The next few days were touch and go. Roxie was a champ in the kitchen. Very small area for her to be in all day with such a sick cria. So we would send her outside for a few hours each day. We had to trick her out the door and at first she would just run laps around the house. After a couple of days she seemed to realize that we would watch her cria for her while she went out and grazed with the other girls. If Theo looked hungry all we had to do was step out the door and holler for Roxie and she would come running up the steps and into the house!
One day my dog, who is a red heeler and commands much respect in the barnyard, mainly cause he is sneaky... was sitting on the porch when Roxie came up to come inside to her cria. She saw Tipper and he saw her. Roxie charged and stomped Tipper.... he was yipping and even pee'd on himself in his frantic attempt to get off the porch fast enough for Roxie! Moral... don't stand between a mama and her cria!! Roxie came in and all was well.
A week later, by February 11 Theo's body temperature was finally staying at 100 and above. We were thrilled. He had to have a different hep lock put in. He was getting more difficult to hold still while the IV was running. He was also starting to get into things in the kitchen and also learning from his mama that it was his job to try and stomp the cats as they came through the kitchen to try to get to the cat food bowl. Finally we had pitty on the cats and moved the bowl to the other room because they were starving to death!
Roxie was starting to have an opinion about what we were cooking for dinner. She would come over while I was cooking and sniff over my shoulder at the stovetop. This usually meant that we had extra fiber, i.e.: hay, in our meals! The kids learned to watch for green stuff and pick it out. Because of this, it was several months before my kids would eat parsley in their soups!!
On February 12, we gave Theo his last IV and pulled the hep lock out. It wasn't working very well anymore and if he needed more we would have to get a new one anyway. That evening his breathing got a little rattly sounding. So we started him on 5 days of penone.
By February 16th, Theo was looking like a little walking miracle. He was up over 23 pounds and eating like a cria should! We started letting Theo out for a few hours each day with his mama if the sun was shining. Sometimes it was hard to get Roxie to let him come back into the kitchen. I'm sure she was tired of the accommodation, but Theo was only 24 pounds and I wanted to be able to check on him easily at night still.
The kids would have to chase Theo outside and sometimes it took two of them to catch the little bugger when it was time to come in. His breathing was still a little raspy at this point in the evenings. By morning he sounded fine, but still after all we had been through it wasn't worth the risk in February of sending him out to the barn.
On February 22 Theo broke the 25 pound mark! I had to go on an alpaca run so my daughter, Charlie, said she would take care of him for the night. For some reason that night she decided to take his temperature, he looked "droopy" she said.
Theo's temperature had spiked to 104 and Charlie was in a panic on the phone. I told her she would have to give him a penone shot.... she's never done shots before by herself so we walked through it on the phone and she did a great job! Since then Charlie has given many shots and she is very confident about it.
Two days later we decided to switch Theo to Naxel because the Penone was just not clearing up whatever had been bugging us for over two weeks now! He was on naxel for 4 days and he looked good.
On March 1, 2008, almost a month after we had found him nearly dead, Theo weighed 27 pounds and we allowed him to move out to the barn with his mama. They were kept in a small stall in a more interior part of the barn at night for several weeks still, but he was allowed to run and play during the day with all the other alpacas. I think Roxie was very relieved to get out of the kitchen!!!! I know the kids and I were happy to not have added hay to our meals everynight. =)
Theo was an experience. Everyone learned a lot. I still keep a close eye on him, but he is a big boy now and romps in the big boy pen on over 230 acres!
Second Annual Fall Sale!!
Take $200.00off the price of any of our alpaca listed!! On top of the always offered "trade" our girls for your fiber boys allowing an even lower cash price for some fantastic females!